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Surveillance and prevention of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome in California.

Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U01-OH-007297, 2004 Jan; :1-20
The Occupational Health Branch (OHB) of the California Department of Public Health aimed to characterize and prevent work-related carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in California by developing a program of CTS surveillance and intervention over a 7-year period. The CTS program sought to describe and monitor CTS trends using surveillance, to conduct case-based and targeted worksite investigations in high-risk occupations, to develop and provide prevention recommendations, to further develop collaborations that enhanced program impact, and to evaluate the program to ensure effectiveness. Key findings and accomplishments include the following: o Implementation of a comprehensive surveillance system which identified over 25,000 cases statewide in 5 years. o An evaluation of reporting sources found that multiple data sources lead to improved surveillance. o Surveillance and follow-up data collection efforts generated important findings for prevention, including identifying high risk occupations, industries, tasks and tools. They also documented important information on disability and the impact of CTS on workers. o Evaluation of garment workers in a specialized clinic demonstrated that nearly all had musculoskeletal disorders, including CTS. However, almost none of the workers were willing to report their injury. For this high-risk population, the project focused on low-cost prevention measures rather than surveillance. CTS staff conducted a total of 44 work site investigations. Common risk factors identified included repetitive work, inadequate ergonomic programs, poor work organization, poorly designed workstations and equipment, non-neutral hand and wrist postures, static or awkward postures of the neck, back and upper extremities, and high psychosocial stress. Many interventions were accomplished, including policy recommendations; the development of educational materials with a wide distribution among employers and workers; the addition of ergonomics training to the curriculum of courses for graphic artists and website designers; development of low cost improvements to work stations for garment workers, leading to a chair-lending program for garment factories in the Bay Area; and ergonomics training for workers in multiple job settings and industries.
Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Repetitive-work; Biomechanics; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Work-areas; Work-organization; Office-equipment; Surveillance-programs; Disease-prevention
Robert Harrison, MD, MPH, California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch, 850 Marina Bay Pkwy, Bldg P, 3rd Floor Richmond, CA 94804
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Surveillance and Prevention of Work-related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in California
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute, Oakland, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division